The New York Times amended its coverage of the Wisconsin legislature’s attempt to strip power from incoming Democratic governor Tony Evers on Wednesday after a brief but vocal public outcry over an earlier version.
Critics zeroed in on a Times headline that previously read “Wisconsin Republicans Defiantly ‘Stand Like Bedrock’ in Face of Democratic Wins.”
“I cherish @nytimes. But this is a truly indefensible headline,” said former United States U.N. ambassador Samantha Power in a tweet on Wednesday, with her Obama administration colleague Ben Rhodes suggesting that the headline was a result of the paper’s “fear” of being called biased.
A rep for the Times did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap, but the criticism from Power and Rhodes was typical of many on the liberal side of the Twitter aisle.
“Your Wisconsin coverage, and particularly its headlines, just keeps getting worse @nytimes. Can someone make them stop,” said The Nation writer Joan Walsh. “Not sure they could have written a better headline for themselves if they had been asked to,” quipped Atlantic writer Adam Serwer.
Amid this growing chorus, the Times moved to change its headline to what it now reads, “Wisconsin Republicans Defiantly Move to Limit the Power of Incoming Democrats.”
A timeline of these changes — including an even earlier headline that existed before “Bedrock” controversy — are all viewable on Internet Archive’s Wayback machine here.
In the era of partisan media, the New York Times has taken pains to avoid bias, partisanship and conflicts of interest in their coverage. Last week, the paper changed this piece, swapping the term “illegal immigrant” to “undocumented immigrant” after similar criticism. The Times’ style guide over the issue reflects the tightrope the paper constantly.